Dr. Donna Spector (^DS)

Donna Spector

Donna Spector

Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM, is a renowned, board-certified Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist who has practiced at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and other leading institutions. She is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Spector has written and lectured extensively on topics including nutrition, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, kidney failure and respiratory disease. She is widely recognized for her role as consulting veterinarian to HALO, Purely for Pets, her TV appearances with Ellen DeGeneres and her widely-quoted pet health advice in print and on radio. She currently works in Chicago, performing independent internal medicine consultations for dogs and cats.

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10 Responses to Dr. Donna Spector (^DS)

  1. Donna D says:

    I am asking for a second opinion – My 14 year old Shih Tzu had developed kidney disease – my vet suggested I purchase a kidney formula from the clinic but she hates it – and all three of my Shih Tzus, including my fosters eat HALO – my question is: should I continue to feel her HALO because of the kidneys – She now has gotten very fussy and eats turkey – very lean ground beet (small portions of course) some chicken broth and a little rice – I was looking to maybe order a product called Azydol – any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

    • admin says:

      Hi Donna D,

      Thanks for writing in. The short answer is that yes, dogs can eat pasta, however the amount they should eat is completely dependent on the rest of the diet they are eating, how much they weigh, activity level, etc. If you are using home-made diets they must be tailored and supplemented carefully with vitamins and minerals for each individual dog.

      Dr. Donna Spector

  2. Chris Waldo says:

    Is there a Halo formula that is equalivant to the Purina Vet EN formula for gastrointestinal problems? One of my cats has colitis and we have started the EN formula and he is eating it for the past week, but the other cat appears not to be able to eat the EN. She will throw up if she eats it. We has switched her back to the old food (Science Diet OM), but she still sneaks nibbles from Pasha’s EN. I would like to feed the same food for both cats. Thanks for your reply.

    • admin says:

      Hi Chris—thanks for your inquiry. The manufacturer describes Purina EN as having the following characteristics: high protein, low carbohydrate, moderate fat, exceptional palatability and added B-vitamins. Halo’s Indoor Formula Wild Salmon Dry Food and all Halo canned cat foods have these similar features. Halo’s food are highly digestible and exceptionally palatable as well. Purina EN is a primarily soy-protein based formula (or poultry by-products in the canned formula) and Halo does not contain any of these ingredients. Halo uses only real meat and vegetable ingredients and uses no meat meals of any sort. Halo’s formulas also have multiple protein sources (such as salmon, chicken, eggs, turkey) and multiple vegetable ingredients. Foods with multiple ingredients like Halo are often not suitable for pets with certain digestive issues. I would suggest you ask your vet to view Halo’s diet profile and see if they feel any of our formulas would be suitable for your cat. They may feel free to contact me if they have specific questions about any of our foods.

      Hope this helps.
      Dr. Donna Spector

  3. Sharon says:

    Help Please! I have a year and a half old Bengal cat. She is beautiful, sweet and full of energy. However she pees on everything in the house. Towels, tables, couches, chairs, any thing high or low-potted plants, anything. I have 3 litter boxes and have taken to walking her to her boxes when I get up in the morning and come home in the evening to watch her use it. But, she continues to pee on everything. I’ve tried the organic spray deterants, garlic and red pepper in plants-but am at my wits end. My house stinks. I took her to the vet when she started this behavior about 9 months ago. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    • admin says:

      Hi Sharon—thanks for writing in. Unfortunately what you are describing is not an uncommon problem. The best solution to this problem is trying to enrich her environment (called Multi-modal Environmental Enrichment). Cats have many unique stressors and solutions often go far beyond just litterbox management. You didn’t mention whether you have other cats but if so, the first thing to address is the “1+1” rule—for every 1 cat there must be “1+1” resources. So for example, 2 cats = 3 litterboxes, 3 food bowls, 3 water bowls, 3 scratching posts, 3 perching places, etc. We often find that affected cats find pleasure and will be enriched if they are allowed leash time outdoors for 20 to 30 minutes each day. The approach often needs to be wide-ranging and many things tried to determine what she will find enjoyable. Here is a website with some good ideas and information: http://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats/.

      Good luck.
      Dr. Donna Spector

  4. Lori says:

    Hi Dr. Spector,
    My 16 year old Cat Lucy has just been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease The vet feels she has lost 2/3rds of her kidney function based on blood and urine tests. She is also anemic. The vet recommended switching to a low protein diet. I have been searching for info and reading a lot of articles that have conflicting info as to weather or not lowering iron is a good or bad thing. Many claiming that this low protein idea is not the best plan since she will need good protein and nutrition for the fight ahead of her, and that lower potassium content is more important. We are trying Halo as recommended by our local store Small Wonders here in Toronto.
    Please can you advise me on the best way to keep my cats kidneys functioning . What percentage or protein should I be giving her.
    Thank you ,
    Lucy’s desperate mummy Lori

    • admin says:

      Hi Lori—thanks for writing in.

      The best diet for your cat depends on the stage of her kidney disease—one diet does not fit all stages of kidney disease. For early stages of kidney disease (IRIS Stage 1 and 2), prescription kidney diets may be too restricted in protein and often lead to undesirable protein malnourishment and ongoing muscle loss and weight loss. However, with advancing kidney failure (IRIS Stage 3 and 4), lower protein and lower phosphorus diets and other dietary modifications have been proven to help cats live significantly longer with less obvious signs of illness. I would advise speaking to your vet about your cat’s specific stage of kidney disease (Stage 1 through 4) in order to best understand what her protein and phosphorus needs are.

      My general recommendation is to continue feeding a high-quality, highly digestible protein source (with controlled levels of phosphorus) during the early stages of kidney disease (IRIS Stage 1 and 2) when a cat has no outward signs and then restrict protein in the more advanced stages of kidney disease (IRIS Stage 3 and 4).

      Hope this information helps.
      Dr. Donna Spector

  5. Juliet says:

    Hi my name is Juliet, and one of my fur babies Ernie is @ 11 yr old DSH tuxedo male. He has had issues with non- formed stool for approx 1 yr. He had an ultrasound and the only abnormality was thickening of the colon. He currently eats Hills I/d canned & dry. No improvement noted. As I reserch dozens of cat food labels I am frustrated knowing that the ingredients are not the best. Would Halo be appropriate for my cat who has Colitis ?

    • admin says:

      Hi Juliet—thanks for writing in. Halo is not a prescription food but can and has been used successfully in many pets with digestive issues. Some cats with colitis require limited ingredient diets or your veterinarian may want to avoid certain proteins or ingredients in Ernie’s food so it is critical that you ask them to evaluate Halo’s many health natural food options and see if he or she thinks any of them would be appropriate for your boy. Good luck. Dr. Donna Spector

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